14 May 2013

Media training for projects in Mistra Innovation

All the project managers in Mistra Innovation have been offered two days’ media training. The aim is to develop their skill in meeting journalists and conveying their ideas for new environmental solutions.

Encountering journalists and being able to explain one’s work are key for most researchers. All the project managers in Mistra Innovation were recently offered two days’ media training. Lars Stigsson, who heads Green Gasoline, was one participant. The objective of this project is to produce lignin from pulp mills to make vehicle fuel or green chemicals.

Stigsson was extremely satisfied with the course.
‘I’ve worked on numerous different projects over the years, but I’ve never had any media training. So before it I was uncertain whether to set aside two days for this. But I haven’t regretted it at all. It was tremendously useful.’

During the two days, he and the other students tried out being interviewed in front of a camera. Two interviews were carried out with each: a gentle one and an interrogation that was considerably more intensive.   
‘In the tough one, the interviewers fixed their attention on certain issues and I felt I was on thin ice. Getting that feeling was a helpful experience.’

Better prepared to meet the media

The media training also included concrete advice about ways of expressing oneself, for example, but also on practicalities like choosing clothes. The lecturers also emphasised the importance of preparation.
‘From now on, I’ll know in advance what the interview will be about,’ says Lars Stigsson.

Six research projects are included in the first phase of Mistra Innovation, which began in 2012. The purpose of this programme is to enable small and medium-sized enterprises, in cooperation with academic researchers, to develop new products or production methods.

Green Gasoline has already attained success by devising a special system of membrane filters to extract lignin from black liquor, the waste product from pulp mills, Stigsson relates.
‘We’ve made good progress. Now we’re applying for patents for the process and we’ve started a new company.’

In a second stage, the extracted lignin will be transformed into an effective fuel. Here, the challenges have been a little more daunting.
‘Here too, though, we’re on the right track. Right now, we’re working along three or four lines of research. We may succeed in finding a way of using lignin to produce first charcoal and then, in a second stage, a fuel.’

Text: Henrik Lundström, Vetenskapsjournalisterna

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